Manteca High's Guss Schmiedt Field was a sloppy, slippery mess Friday, and the cold wind made for even harsher conditions.
RIPON – It all came down to a single drive.
Home-field advantage hasn't been advantageous for Manteca High's football team the last two years.
Manteca High's committee approach has worked wonders.
The junior varsity squad of the Ripon Chiefs was crowned Super Bowl champions last Sunday.
Eleven 5-5 teams qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in the Division I-IV brackets.
The Manteca Buffaloes sophomore football team had one objective when they came into their season-ending contest with the East Union Lancers. Handling the Lancers 30-19 completed the objective and earned Manteca a piece of the Valley Oak League title.
Closing out a season with a Valley Oak League championship is difficult enough, but doing so and remaining perfect along the way is even more so. The Manteca Buffaloes freshman football team was able to do just that after closing the season with a 47-6 win over host East Union High.
Scoring 14 unanswered points to begin the second half not only lifted the East Union Lancers into a 14-14 tie with host Manteca, it raised some similar feelings Buffalo faithful experienced a season ago.
Just two days before Sierra's Valley Oak League finale against visiting Weston Ranch Friday, star running back Anthony Cota was in street clothes at practice with a cast protecting his left forearm.
LATHROP – Andrew Aquino wasn't about to mail it in and take the last game of his high school football career off.
Andrew Brown left nothing to chance Friday night.
RIPON - The Ripon High Indians took care of business in Friday's Trans Valley League finale at Stouffer Field, disposing of Orestimba, 41-14.
Every other year the Sierra-Weston Ranch football rivalry game has meant something for one team or the other.
Two Manteca area teams are in, and three others are on the bubble.
Will Kamps found solace in his teammates following the Ripon Christian Knights' Sac-Joaquin Section VI playoff loss to No. 1 seed Capital Christian.
Zak Burden made big plays with his arms and legs, and on the game's final sequence it was he who fittingly punctuated No. 10 Rio Linda's 49-44 upset of No. 2 Sierra in Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinal at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
SACRAMENTO -The better athletes won out on this day.
Down to their final play, Dakarai Charles threw toward the corner of the end zone with confidence.
Fade to black.
A year ago, Manteca put an emphatic stamp on its fourth Sac-Joaquin Section championship with a runaway victory over a first-time finalist.
Ripon Christian is well aware of what it's up against tonight.
Sophomores have long been a part of Sierra's winning formula this season, but when Brandon Arreola burst around the corner and into the end zone this was something new.
Behind the goal posts, shagging footballs blasted through the uprights during warm-ups, Sierra's Marissa LaQuaglia makes no illusions about her role on Friday nights.
Ripon Christian appeared to have an Andrew Brown clone in the form of junior tail back Brian Sytsma.
The third time was the charm for Eric Reis and his Manteca High football team.
Confetti wafted in the air above the home bleachers and players were met with hugs and high-fives at every turn.
GARDEN VALLEY – The Ripon Christian Knights relied on a strong second-half surge to roll past Golden Sierra in Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoff opener.
It was the kind of moment that can take the air out of a stadium.
By now, the Sac-Joaquin Section football playoff brackets have been dissected and analyzed by anyone with a rooting interest or a job to do.